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Google place new emphasis on mobile Pagespeed as an SEO ranking factor

web design eastbourne

Pagespeed originally became a Google SEO ranking factor back in April 2010, the ranking signals that Google have used since then have been primarily based upon your website desktop speed, and they have now updated their mobile friendly algorithm, to add mobile specific Pagespeed as a ranking factor.

A recent article on the subject: http://www.thesempost.com/google-mobile-friendly-algo-live/

Many website owners are totally unaware that the speed of their website even matters in the SEO stakes, or of the many tools which exist to help check and fix bottlenecks which may be costing them visitors and potential clients.

To help site owners achieve the best results Google have very recently launched their new site testing tool: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ – which is just a simplified version of their long standing website test tool https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Alongside the Google tool there are a few other well established sites which will provide free analysis and information about your website, these are used by SEO consultants to assess and analyse websites.

The team here at Magnetic has put together this guide to using these tools yourself, you may not understand all of the results but you can pass them to your web developers who should be able to implement any changes for you if required.

Google Pagespeed

Simply enter your website URL into the text field at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and click Analyse. A few seconds later the results will be shown, as an example ours are below:

web design eastbourne
web design eastbourne

The results will show scores and recommendations for both mobile and desktop versions of your website. I should mention now that as long as your website returns an amber or green rating that’s a satisfactory result, red results require attention. Also, some people become obsessive about achieving 100/100 and in doing so remove all user interactivity and functionality from their site.

As an example, we have a video which runs automatically as the background on our home page which we find aesthetically pleasing, this increases the page load time and size which costs a few points, but that’s a trade-off we’re happily prepared to make.

Webpagetesthttps://www.webpagetest.org/

This is the original website which started speed testing in 2007 and is considered to be the big boss of server testing in the SEO world. Once again enter your URL, select a location near to where your website is hosted (ours was London) and click Start Test. This tool will run 3 times and refresh each time, then provide you with the average result. You can then click on the row of letters at the top right of the page to see any problems it identifies.

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View our result:
https://www.webpagetest.org/result/170702_ZX_DKQ/

Pingdomhttps://tools.pingdom.com/

Enter your URL, select the nearest location, Stockholm in this case for us, and click Start Test. Pingdom provides a performance grade with suggestions to improve speed. Overall A&B, and occasionally C main Performance grades (at the top of the report) are acceptable, anything below that requires attention.

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View our result:
https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/eFFLwD/https://magneticbd.co.uk/

GTmetrixhttps://gtmetrix.com/

GTmetrix normally automatically tests from Vancouver in Canada, so enter your URL and hit analyse. It will give you an insight into how well your site loads and provide actionable recommendations for speeding things up.

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View our result:
https://gtmetrix.com/reports/magneticbd.co.uk/kvTma8Rb

Whenever we run these tests for clients we always run multiple tests with each of these tools, often at different times of the day, and over the course of a week. This will often return a slight variety of results, which allows us to gain a true insight into where the potential problems are.

One interesting point in website speed testing is that the biggest culprit for causing website slowness are Google themselves. If your website utilises Google Analytics or embeds resources such as Google Maps or Google Fonts then control of the files causing the problems is in their hands. The main problem being that Google set a short Time To Live (TTL) on the JavaScript files required to allow those resources to work, this is understandable from their point of view, they want their information constantly fresh and updated, but this in turn means that those files cannot be cached by your website for speedy delivery. If you find some very low ratings in your results clicking on them often reveals that Google is responsible.

If using the embedded Google files is slowing your website down then it’s important to get the other problems resolved, you should still be able to achieve a very healthy B rating overall.

As an example of what you don’t want to see in your results I’ve added this screenshot, a client (with identity concealed) who rated absolutely zero on both desktop and mobile ratings.

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One final note; if you find that your website requires attention it’s unlikely that your Web Designers are going to be able to solve the problems; many won’t even understand the results you get. A good Web Developer or dedicated SEO Analyst will generally be required. What’s the difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer? I’ll leave that question for another article.

Have a go at testing your own website with these tools, you may find some interesting results.

Happy testing!